Family’s lucky escape from home arson attack horror

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A family escaped a potentially catastrophic gas explosion after their home was targetted by arsonists.

Candice Robinson, 29, her two children aged 11 and six, and her father, were all asleep at the house in Sheffield Drive, Lea, at 12.30am on Monday when they were woken by a frantic neighbour.

Photo Neil Cross'Candice Robinson and her children Jack and Harry, with their burnt out car and fire damaged home in Lea

Photo Neil Cross'Candice Robinson and her children Jack and Harry, with their burnt out car and fire damaged home in Lea

Candice said: “My neighbour was banging on the door telling us the house and the car were on fire. If it hadn’t been for them I don’t think we’d have got out, because the back door is broken.”

She added: “When we got out, my car was on fire and there were flames coming out of the top of the house. We were all terrified.”

Firefighters said arsonists set wheelie bins alight as well as a Vauxhall Zafira car, and the flames spread quickly to the house - at one point were close to engulfing a gas metre box on the property. British Gas engineers were called out and managed to isolate the gas supply as firefighters tackled the blaze.

Candice added: “The car’s destroyed and the house isn’t fit to live in, so we’re staying at my mum’s. We’re devastated and have no idea why anyone would do this to us.”

Det Sgt Oliver Jemson of Preston CID, said detectives were treating the blaze as an arson.

He said: “ An investigation has been launched.”

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Resuce service confirmed its investigators are treating it as suspicious.

He said: “Two Preston crews were sent out.The car was on fire on the driveway and heat and flames were threatening to engulf the gas meter box.

“Firefighters wore breathing apparatus to get close enough to put the fire out and to make certain there were no remaining hot spots a thermal imaging camera was used.”

Anyone with information should call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.